You’re Only Young Once

The London Paper  –  1 Aug 2008

‘Geraint, you’re only young once but you can be immature all your life.’ When my dear old mum used to say that to me day in day out I think she meant it as a negative assertion designed to encourage me to settle down whereas I, perhaps mistakenly, interpreted it as a subconscious command to party like its 1999 for as long as my poor ravaged emaciated body could take it. Now, as I lie back gurning for England and buzzing like a fridge around my Ibeefan villa’s beautiful pool surrounded by a bevee of 19 year old blonds dancing in bikinis in the blazing sun I wonder if I should have listened more closely to her advice. My ‘breakfast’ of 4 Neurofen knocked back with a Berocca seems to be the only thing keeping me alive after having just endured the kind of self-harming Amy Whinehouse would deem excessive. But most of all I wonder whether a 35 year old ‘man’ should continue to lead the unhealthy, errant lifestyle I do when many of my pals are actually settling down and leading ‘normal’ lives. I wonder, despite their obvious envy of my carefree, fun-filled existence whether it’s time I grew up and got with the programme. After 3 days of no kip and in the grips of a soul-wrenching come-down the grass is definitely greener.

This week has been one of the weirdest I’ve ever experienced in my scurrilous life and, believe me, that’s saying something. On Thursday we got our pop song ‘Cityboy’ played on Life FM and, apparently, it went down like a bottle of meths in cardboard city. Then on Friday we drove up to the Secret Garden festival in Cambridgeshire. About 3 days into it I was told the band who play my song, The Blue Flying Monkeys, were going to perform it in front of a couple of hundred revellers and that they needed me to dance in a pink suit on stage. I thought no probs: move aside Bez (the drugged-up dancer from The Happy Mondays) ‘cos ‘Gez’ is gonna show you rhythms you ain’t even heard yet. God’s teeth, I taught Prince and Michael Jackson most of their moves back in the day! And then 5 minutes before my appearance was due I fell asleep (for the first time in days) right in front of the stage. Now, I’ve been busting moves since I was knee high (e.g. Since I was about 28) but let me tell you, being woken up and told you’ve got to immediately get your kit off on stage in front of 200 relatively straight bods was no walk in the park (check youtube for proof) Although my boogying was more like that of a 45 year old accountant on Ketamine than Justin Trousersnake the fact I didn’t have a coronary was a bonus.

Anyway, at precisely 2.15 pm on Sunday I left Secret Garden and 7 hours later found myself in Space. Not literally in outer space, although it felt like that at times, but rather my favourite ‘super club’ in ‘Beefa. Despite being 10 years older than most of the glammed-up Eurotrash there I like to think I engineered a few moves on the dance floor that got people talking. I don’t believe those Gucci-clad kids had ever seen ‘the running man’, ‘big fish, little fish’ or even my personal favourite, ‘stacking shelves’. I interpreted their barely suppressed giggles as signs of admiration despite all my envious mates telling me everyone was actually laughing in my general direction. As if!

My mum’s other favourite adage was ‘only boring people get bored’. Now I suspect that she hoped such a sentiment would encourage me to read some tedious Jane Austen novel or watch some depressing Ibsen play. That I chose to rave like a dickhead and laze around smoking the local produce is merely an interpretation of her sage advice updated for the ‘noughties’. All our lives will be short – especially mine at the rate I’m going – and if I have the misfortune to wake up on my 40th birthday and feel that it’s been average so far I will literally top myself. The grass may always be greener but that marriage and kids nonsense can wait a few more years. There’s still a bit of raving left in this old dog before I have to go to the knackers yard (e.g. The two up two down in Surbiton) and that’s why I’ll see you at Carnival and Bestival next month. So rock on all you old ravers out there. Let’s all live fast, die young and leave beautiful corpses … well perhaps not that young or that beautiful but who’s splitting hairs here?


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